General Motors will bring back the defunct off-road marque with a plus 746kW EV that promises 0-100km/h in 3sec – but has delayed the launch event.
The launch of the new GMC Hummer EV, the first in a line of premium electric SUVs and pick-ups to use the revived badge, has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
American automotive giant General Motors (GM) confirmed earlier this year that it would resurrect the Hummer name, last used in 2009, at an event in Las Vegas on 20 May. But that event has now been postponed to an as yet unspecified date.
However, GM said the Hummer remains “on track” to go on sale in autumn 2021, saying in a statement that “development work continues on track and undeterred”. It added: “Even as we work to help flatten the curve, our mission to build the first ever GMC Hummer EV remains the same.”
The Hummer EV will arrive under the GMC brand with 746kW and 15500Nm of torque and be capable of 0-100km/h in 3sec. Few other details are known about the new model but it is promised to deliver “incredible on- and off-road capability”.
GMC vice president Duncan Aldred said: “GMC builds premium and capable trucks and SUVs. The GMC Hummer EV takes this to new heights.”
The new model will be built at General Motors’ Detroit-Hamtramck factory in Michigan.
GM is investing US$7.7 billion into preparing its US factories for the shift to electrification over the next four years, with the Detroit-Hamtramck facility being upgraded at a cost of US$3bn to produce electric trucks and vans.
The large EVs will sit atop a new skateboard-style chassis, similar to that of start-up company Rivian, which combines motors and batteries for cheaper production costs. Around 80,000 units per year are expected to be produced.
The first model, currently known as Project O, is expected to be followed by a hardcore performance version in 2022.
Regarding GM’s choice to develop premium EVs before more affordable models, Auto Forecast Solutions’ Sam Fiorani told Reuters: “It makes perfect sense to hit the high end of the market in order to generate some revenue that might actually turn a profit.” Such a move, he noted, has proved lucrative for Tesla, which launched with the low-volume Roadster before going on to rival BMW and Mercedes-Benz with the Model S.
GM recently ended production of the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, citing a decline in demand for saloon models. Its replacement, the Bolt, is an electric hatchback that’s expected to cost its maker between $8000 and $9000 per unit as a result of the augmented cost of EV production compared with that of conventionally powered cars.
Production of the iconic Hummer H2 and smaller H3 ended in 2009, as GM eyed a return to profit following a high-profile bankruptcy announcement.
The new electric pick-up is likely to be priced to compete with the Rivian RS1 and could beat Tesla’s long-awaited truck to market.